Dog attacks - can we stop them?
THERE WAS A report in my local media the other day of yet another child being attacked by a dog. The victim, a young girl was severely bitten.
This is just the most recent report of MANY INCIDENTS LIKE THIS . Children playing in a public park, their own garden or in the street are attacked and severely injured or killed by a dog. Sometimes more than one dog is involved and sometimes the dog's owner was with them but they were off the leash and free to roam.
Here in the UK there is a DANGEROUS DOGS ACT which forbids anyone owning certain breeds of so-called 'attack' dogs or 'fighting' dogs and certain other breeds must be muzzled in public but no legislation has been enacted on other types of dog not on the proscribed list but just as capable of carrying out a fatal attack.
How can you tell the difference between a dog which might attack a child and a dog which never will? YOU CAN’T! All dogs, even those whose owners trust implicitly and describe as ‘big softies’ are capable of turning and biting - through fear or provocation or some unknown canine reason - and if there is more than one dog present then the ‘pack mentality’ can take over, turning a quick snap into a sustained and severe attack.
I am aware that the problem isn't really the dog - it's the owner. Many owners take little interest in socialising their dogs properly or are the type of owner who simply cannot be described as 'responsible' and have a large, vicious-looking dog as a status symbol. They care nothing about the animal itself but only what 'street cred' it gains them and that situation is unlikely to change any time soon.
The HUFFINGTON POST (UK version) has an interesting article on this but the fact remains that there is only one way in which such attacks can be mitigated and that is by the simple passing of a law which states:
ALL DOGS MUST BE MUZZLED AND KEPT ON A LEASH WHEN IN A PUBLIC PLACE
Passing this law would protect ourselves and our children from any potential attack by any dog. Owners who do not comply or who let their dogs stray should be dragged before a court of law and dealt with severely. This would put a stop to this type of attack but the potential danger of a dog attack would still remain in the home and on private property. Anyone who owns any breed of dog should seriously review their interactions with the dog, especially with regard to children.
And just in case those dog owners amongst you are wondering about my motives for writing this post I will state that I am an animal lover - but I love my children and grandchildren even more.
INTERESTING FACT: Did you know that the basenji dog breed doesn't bark? It yodels.
Image Credit » Dineshraj Goomany/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0: http://goo.gl/17njXl (cropped)